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The B.E. from hades

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  • The B.E. from hades

    Over the past few months I've been doing a lot of mixing in a Gilley's franchise club that was built in the Casino I work for. Overall we've had good results (depending on talent ;-). The room acoustics are pretty much kaka (why we MUST limit stage volume) but the Renkus Heinz line array is quite good. The console & monitor setup is Roland. It works fine but is very proprietary (all CAT 5 through proprietary switches).

    We have a standard email that goes out that describes the situation exactly (All IEM's (provided) with multiple self mixers for monitors), NO LIVE AMPS on stage, we provide mics, stands, cables, IEMs, plexi, AC distro & FOH console operator. This current band shows up with a B.E. who immediately asks, "can I plug my board into your system & mix these guys". Considering the monitor rig is all CAT 5 to digital mini-mixers, there isn't an easy way to implement this. Also the Casino wants control of the audio so my answer is "sorry but no it won't work".

    These guys are great. Real old school country but excellent players. I got probably the best mix I've had in that room the first set and it remained that way for 2 days. Day 3, the B.E. is jumping on me about how the mix is all wrong and that they are all unhappy on stage. The steel player is asking if he can use his amp (unfortunately the answer was no) etc, etc, etc..... It is my opinion that this BE is justifying his position with these guys at my expense (interesting how the mix remained stable until he started yacking at them and having them make adjustments). I STILL got a good mix and the place was jumping.

    I guess we need to update our advance info to include, leave your B.E. at home, you won't need them.

    They knew the situation when they walked in the door. Maybe they don't want to work all that bad. Too bad as they are a great band (and nice guys) who are being mislead my a horses behind. I wish them luck :-).

    Sorry I just had to vent. I'm pretty thick skinned (I've put up with worse) but what could have been an great gig was made difficult by one idiot :-)

    Cheers
    J.R. Previously jrble

    See my Dog Of The Hair studio at: http://www.dogoth.com/studio/

    Quote from someone: Flat response? Get out the jack and change the tire.
    If you think "power is knowledge", you have it backwards.

  • #2
    I definitely see not allowing bands to use their rigs on stage as an issue for them. A big part of a muscians sound and feel is having his rig on stage with him/her. I totally understand the stage volume thing but I dont understand why the casino
    will not invest in fixing the room and stage with room treatments.
    The absolute most effective tweak on any soundsystem is fixing the room. Your in a tough position for sure.

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    • #3
      I've seen the price tag on fixing the acoustics in a very bad room. $45K and that's without any sound equipment. (And it was such a terrible place to play. You couldn't dance more than 20' from the band before. Now you can enjoy the music in the entire 150' x 75' room, but the ambient volume can't be over 95 db in the room. (Or else the neighbor with 911 on his speed dial and a db meter in hand will call the cops. Because of him, all the local cops carry db meters and know how to use them.)

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      • #4
        There are plenty of bands out there that rely on their stage volume for "their sound" and since that is what they are used to, IEM's are for them are like getting a little kid to eat spinach

        I believe you when you say that the sound out front was very good. I also believe that the musicians and BE were complaining.

        Sadly for them, I think this is the wave of the future. The age of the floor monitor is likely going to dry up as IEM solutions become better and less expensive.

        For me, I can personally say that I don't miss carrying around floor wedges and the amps to power them at all. I also find it quite nice to be able to dial in my own IEM mix and hate it anytime I play on a house rig with their own monitor system.

        I also agree that the band knew the situation before they came to work. They shouldn't expect things to be altered AFTER the understanding has been made.

        There are issues with all IEM setups though. Lead guitar in particular really does need a speaker moving air toward his/her guitar in order to get the harmonics and feedback that are integral to a good lead in many cases.

        Still, this can be accomplished with a monitor having only guitar pointed up directly at the guitar player and not be so loud that it bleeds out too much into the audience.
        With Greater Knowledge Comes Greater Understanding

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Pro Sound Guy View Post
          I definitely see not allowing bands to use their rigs on stage as an issue for them. A big part of a muscians sound and feel is having his rig on stage with him/her. I totally understand the stage volume thing but I dont understand why the casino
          will not invest in fixing the room and stage with room treatments.
          The absolute most effective tweak on any soundsystem is fixing the room. Your in a tough position for sure.
          Oh beleive me. When this new venue was proposed, I sent out an email to my boss with suggestions such as (I think it was at the top of the list) "Design the room with acoustics in mind". It of course fell on deaf ears (small joke there). Corporate folks don't get (and never will) the idea that the room properties are everything (far more important than the gear you put into it).

          WynnD you are correct that room treatment is expensive but it's a lot less when considered as part of the design. It also will last the life of the venue (where as specialized gear to TRY and fix the problems can be ineffective, costly AND wears out in some years). IMO designing good acoustics is the better long term investment (Oops there I go again, thinking long term - sorry :-).

          Sure I understand wanting to have a real wedge & amp on stage (I prefer to play music that way too as long as everyone plays nice with their volume :-), but this was all stated in no uncertain terms before they took the job. If this was a national act with their own rider the situation would be completely different but this is a BAR hiring local & regional acts. "They knew the job was dangerous when they took it Fred" :-). Also why were the musos happy as clams for the first couple of nights and nothing changed (other than their perception) the third??? This could have been a great way for some old school guys to embrace (or at least accept) some of the new technology had their opinion had been left unbiased.

          Doesn't really matter. They're done with this run. If I see them again it won't be for a year or so and hopefully by them, I'll have divested myself of this duty (I've got a couple of eager trainees from our A/V department already mixing part time). My management (the guys who sign my paycheck) are happy with my results (I'm sure they never heard of the issue being discussed here). I might make them aware of it anyway though next week (or I may just let sleeping dogs lie ;-).

          Funny thing is, this is one of the reasons I WAY prefer to run monitors over FOH. Being the house guy is far more political and less technical :-).

          I probably shouldn't have posted anything. I was just really annoyed at the situation and posted from work withing one hour of the last note. Thanks everyone for your comments, I'll get over it (Hey look! I'm already over it :-).

          Cheers
          Last edited by Dogoth; 08-16-2014, 10:24 AM.
          J.R. Previously jrble

          See my Dog Of The Hair studio at: http://www.dogoth.com/studio/

          Quote from someone: Flat response? Get out the jack and change the tire.
          If you think "power is knowledge", you have it backwards.

          Comment


          • #6
            I feel your pain JR, had a grumpy monitor engineer the other night who became even more grumpy when I chewed him out for taking it upon himself to rearrange power distro on stage and unplugged foh power their FOH console with my racks and stacks powered up. Fortunately, the console mutes on power down but this was by luck and not his knowledge. I reminded him that I wouldn't re patch his console without asking so why did he think it was ok repatching my power distro without asking?
            -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
            Former product development engineer: Genz Benz, a KMC Music/Fender Musical Instruments Company, continuing factory level product support and service for Genz Benz

            Currently product development engineer: Mesa Boogie

            Comment


            • #7
              I'm sympathetic with the artist here. Unfortunately the room is sooooo bad that the only way to make any kind of mix work is with next to zero stage volume (If the guy's a beater, even the drums with a shield can put you way over the top of the OSHA spec with no amplification). Yes there are certainly a few bands out there who's stage volume is so low that it wouldn't be a problem (although they probably all wear IEM's :-). Unfortunately that's not most and we can't make those kind of exceptions. FWIW a couple of weeks ago we had a persnickety fiddle player who just had to have his amp. After a day without it, he showed up with it onstage. He was told to remove it. After a few choice words, the band leader was told that it must be done or they could pack up and go home (that email is part of our side of the contract). The fiddle player was fired on the spot and the band finished their run. This happened to our FOH guy while I was on vacation so luckily I wasn't part of that one :-). Again unfortunately this venue is such that we MUST enforce certain rules or things would get out of hand quickly. I hate being the bad guy but it's about the show, not massaging someones ego (at the expense of the show). I realized this fellow needed to justify his position with the band and I was even going to sing his praises at the end of the run "Yep Bob really gave me some great pointers, couldn't have done it without him". But he had to go and blow it by being pushy so "No praises for you!" :-).

              Andy, I'd not have been happy with someone re-patching my power distro in that way (without my consent) either. Where do these brazen guys come from? The flip side is most guys on the road take things in stride and deal with the situation at hand as easily as possible. If the system works, why fix it? IMHO That's the right attitude :-).

              Did a nice gig in a park amphitheater today. Interesting variety (comedy to acrobats, to jazz vocals to you name it :-). It was gorgeous weather. Even though there were a couple of issues with the rig (I was just the operator), they were worked out fairly smoothly and this 6 hour event ended 20 minutes early. Nobody got angry and everything worked out in the end (with a few compromises (I had to stand on my head with a sail attached to my left foot while catching curve balls a couple of times to make it work but hey, I'm accommodating when I can be :-)). Everybody went home happy. That's the way it should be :-).

              Thanks for letting me ramble.

              Cheers
              J.R. Previously jrble

              See my Dog Of The Hair studio at: http://www.dogoth.com/studio/

              Quote from someone: Flat response? Get out the jack and change the tire.
              If you think "power is knowledge", you have it backwards.

              Comment


              • #8
                Last night's show started out with a rider that had 19 monitor mixes (some were stereo in-ears) for a 10 piece band (with horns and strings). Then I find out that their engineer won't be traveling with them and it's the first gig of the tour on their first tour with this band. They have to use the house system so I talk it over with the tour manager and they say they will deal with 4 wedge mixes plus an IEM mix for the drummer (click). I have heard a few good things about this act's Las Vegas show so I am cautiously optimistic.

                Day of the show the band arrives and we discuss approach, they appear easy to work with, we set wedges, route in-ears and set up the stage. At the beginning of sound check, the band leader tells the whole band thay will roll with whatever happens regarding the limited monitors and to be happy about it. Set up mixes quickly and efficiently, they launch into sound check and my jaw drops. Holy smokes, what a band. Tight, musical, forward presentation, great lead vocal. Band is thrilled with the wedges and PA, one comment I got was that the band was playing WITH each other rather than AT each other. Show went great, turns out their promotions guy worked the same circuit I cut my teeth on in the late 70's through the 80's, we had worked with all the same acts during that time and I had mixed a couple of the acts and shows he played. Small world.

                In the end, it was a great night, I think this is a band that JR is also familiar with too. It's the Frankie Moreno band, if it tours through your area, there's a lot to be learned from his stage persona and the entire presentation of the band. The show is designed around the audience. It's pretty loud for the type of show it is, but suitable none the less. There are a lot of dynamics, and this is used to make the loud parts seem louder than they really are.
                -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                Former product development engineer: Genz Benz, a KMC Music/Fender Musical Instruments Company, continuing factory level product support and service for Genz Benz

                Currently product development engineer: Mesa Boogie

                Comment


                • #9
                  The whole thing is you told them up front what to expect and what they had to do. Their B.E. seems like a jerk.

                  But as a musician who has never used in ears, I would think a while before taking such a gig. We often change our set list depending on what songs are working. I lean over the the next musician, tell them the next song, and they pass it down the line. How do you do this with in ears? Stop playing, take out the ear, get the message, put the ear back in? Switching to in ear is a pretty big deal for musicians. I trust my years of experience on state to understand what is going on around me. I trust a FOH engineer to make is sound good out front (and I have had good and bad on the bar circuit), but I am not sure I trust an engineer (or myself) to control what I hear on stage. Maybe if I try it, I'll like it, but having never use in ears, I am wary.

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                  • #10
                    Oh yeah, thanks for the tip about Frankie Moreno, great stuff.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by dalejanus View Post
                      The whole thing is you told them up front what to expect and what they had to do.
                      Correct. "What's on the menu is what's on the menu." Order from the menu or go someplace else.
                      I need to catch up with those guys, for I am their leader.

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                      • #12
                        I have found over the years the bands that complain the least about monitors are road hard and have huge experience and talent.
                        Check one two...Ok were good lets play!

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